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press or o. v. scott js ro. — iokner or nassac and ann utrf.ets. 





SAMUEL AKERLY, M.D. President. 

SILAS BROWN, Vice President. 

CURTIS BOLTON, Treasurer. 

THEODORE DWIGHT, jr. Corresponding Secretary. 

JOHN D. RUSS, M. D. Recording Secretary. 








It is the duty of those who devise or present new plans for 
the exercise of benevolence, to show, to the satisfaction of the 
public, their practicability and value. This is the object of 
the following remarks : and should the writer succeed in arous- 
ing the public mind to a full consideration of the facts exhibit- 
ed, and in exciting an interest in any degree proportionate to 
the importance of the subject, his object will have been amply 

To those who are not familiar with the matter in its details 
and extensive bearings, an establishment for the education of 
the blind may appear a work of supererogation. Such isthc wise 
and benevolent character of our institutions, that the blind, in this 
country at least, are rarely obtruded upon the public gaze— 
their number therefore has hitherto been supposed too limited 
to require from the community any distinct action in their be- 
half, and the most enlightened charity has, in general, extended 
its views no farther than to a relief of their physical necessi- 
ties. But when it is ascertained, as it has been, on examina- 
tion, that their aggregate number is surprisingly great, scarcely 
a town, village or hamlet being without one or more of this un- 
fortunate class j and when it is further ascertained, as in fact 
it has been, that they have capacities for improvement which 
richly repay all efforts for their cultivation, enabling them not 
only to gain an honorable subsistence for themselves, but to 
become the means of instruction to others, being changed by 


the process of education from a burden into ornaments of so- 
ciety ; no doubt can exist that the generous sympathies of a 
virtuous community will rush to their rescue from the thraldom 
of perpetual night, and open up in their minds the fountains of 
moral and intellectual light. On the score of humanity, they 
possess at least equal claims upon the opulent and charitable 
with the deaf mutes ; and, at a trifling expense for education, 
can be made as valuable citizens. 

The census of the United States for 1830 presents the ag- 
gregate number of 701 blind for the state of New- York alone, 
and of 5385 for all the states. Unprepared as we were for 
such a result, it is yet believed to fall far short of the actual 
number. In a late address from the trustees of the New 
England Ayslum for the Blind, it is stated to have been ascer- 
tained by actual enumeration, that in Middle Europe there is 
one blind person to every 800 inhabitants ; in some Austrian 
provinces one to every 845 ; in Zurich one to 747. Farther 
north, between the 50th and 70th degrees of latitude, they bear 
a smaller proportion. In Denmark is found one to 1000. In 
Prussia one to 900. Egypt is the country most afflicted with 
this evil ; and it may be safely calculated that of every 3000 
inhabitants, ten are deprived of sight. Allowing the same 
laws of nature to operate, without any countervailing influence, 
here, which prevail in countries under similar latitudes in 
Europe, the number of the blind in the United States would, on 
the most favourable calculation, amount to 13,000. This hap- 
pily is not the fact. Many causes combine to render this 
calamity more rare among us. Still the number is lamentably 
great, and we have no fears of being without the truth in fixing 
it at 7000, or about one to 2000 inhabitants. This statement 
we think will be sustained by a reference to the census of 
1830. Although the census returns but forty-six blind for this 
city, yet on the first of October 1831, there were fifty in our 
Alms House, and twenty-six others (probably not half the 
actual number) are known to us to be residents in the city. If 
similar inaccuracies have occurred generally; (and in the 
country we have reason to believe they have been even more 

frequent and extensive) we shall he constrained to the painful 
conclusion, that the preceding is a low estimate. 

The capacity of the blind for attaining an intellectual and 
mechanical education is scarcely inferior to that of those en- 
dowed with sight. With the exception of painting and ana- 
tomy, there is no path in science, literature, or the arts, but has 
been successfully trod by them. It would be easy to present 
a long catalogue of illustrious blind, who have distinguished 
themselves in various professions and occupations ; to some of 
whom a more particular reference will be found in the ensuing 

Europe and the civilized world arc indebted to a heathen 
country for the origin of Institutions for the Blind. The first 
establishment of this nature, of which we have any account, 
was in Japan. In this country, says the Father Charlevoix, 
" academies arc established at the public charge, degrees, are 
conferred, and the blind are taught, not only to cultivate their 
memories, but to frame into verse that which they have learned, 
and to adorn, with all the beauties of poetry and music, the 
finest points of history. To them the charge is confided of 
preserving the records of the most important events. The 
annals of the empire, the history of great men, ancient titles of 
families, &c, are not more enduring and faithful monuments 
than the memory of these blind students. They communicate 
their knowledge to each other, and, by a sort of tradition, the 
correctness of which is never disputed, hand it down to pos- 
terity. They have their general and subordinate officers, enjoy 
a very high consideration, and arc perhaps the only individuals 
among this people whose lives are devoted to literature." The 
method of instruction in this institution was entirely oral ; and 
it was not until 1774 that Valentine Haiiy, a Frenchman, and 
brother to the celebrated abbe Haiiy, first conceived the pro- 
ject of teaching the blind to read. As this forms an important 
epoch ui the history of their instruction, it may be proper 
briefly to relate the circumstances which gave it birth. In an 
evening walk, M. Haiiy's attention was attracted by the sound 
of music proceeding from one of those houses of refreshment 
so common in Europe along the public promenades. Approach- 


ing the spot, he discovered eight or ten blind persons, " specta- 
cles au nez" seated behind a long desk, which was covered with 
music books, executing in concert various airs on different in- 
struments, much to the amusement of the bystanders. The 
parade of music books was of course a mere farce ; but the 
active and benevolent mind of a Ilaiiy converted this otherwise 
ridiculous circumstance into an event the most important in its 
results. The blind, thought he, readily distinguish objects by 
tlie diversity of their forms ; why then may they not distinguish 
fa from sol, or an A from an F, if these characters should be ren- 
dered palpable ? To this random thought are the European 
blind indebted for their ability to read, and consequent improve- 
ment. Following out the idea which chance had thus suggested, 
M. Ilaiiy in a short time prepared and submitted to the Royal 
Academy of Sciences, a memoir, in which he proposed and 
explained a new plan which he conceived might be success- 
fully employed in the instruction of the blind. This memoir 
w as well received ; and in consequence an asylum was opened. 
The blind mendicants in the public streets, a prey to ignorance 
and vice, were by the exertions of the benevolent, collected 
arid entered as members of this institution. As was well re- 
marked by If. Rodenbaeh, an illustrious pupil of this establish- 
ment, and subsequently a deputy from one of the Belgian 
departments to their Congress, the moment was particularly 
auspicious for the erection of such a charity. At that period 
philanthropy had become a sort of fashion which, wonderfully 
enough, every body followed ; some from the pure impulses of 
humanity, others from the vain desire of popularity. Abundant 
subscriptions flowed in from every quarter; and by the magic 
influence of la mods, the misfortune of the blind, plans for 
their relief, their capacities and their character, became the to- 
pic of every conversation, the rallying point of philanthrophic 
exertions. M. Haiiy, with the devoted enthusiasm of a 
Howard, sacrificed his entire fortune in their behalf: in fact, 
the whole life of this distinguished individual was but one con- 
tinued action of benevolence. It is to him alone that the 
European blind are indebted for the privilege of being able, by 
the assistance of art, to convert a calamity of nature into bles- 


sings to society. The method of instruction invented and 
adopted by M. Haiiy has undergone but lew alterations since 
his day ; and though his system is undoubtedly susceptible of 
large improvements, it is yet a matter ol* astonishment, as well 
as of gratitude to heaven, that so much has actually been ac- 

This system embraced both intellectual and mechanical in- 
struction. Much of the intellectual instruction was oral. He 
however soon succeeded, by means of raised letters, in teach- 
ing his pupils to read with tolerable facility ; and by means of 
maps, on which the boundaries, rivers, &c. were delineated by- 
small chords or wires, and cities and towns denoted by points, 
he was able to give them a general idea of geography. But 
the particular branches of science, literature, and the arts, in 
which the blind have made the greatest proficiency, are the 
mathematics, languages, music and mechanics. Professor 
Saunderson and Paingeon are distinguished examples of ma- 
thematical acumen, as they were also highly successful lectu- 
rers, once occupying chairs in the first universities in Europe. 
Singular as it may appear, the foundations of Professor Saun- 
derson's lectures were Newton's Principia, Optics and Univer- 
sal Arithmetic, which certainly offered him a noble but most 
unpromising field for the display of his genius. His lecture 
room, however, was always thronged — many no doubt im- 
pelled by motives of curiosity, und others prompted by a desire 
of instruction, crowded to hear a blind man lecture upon optics, 
discourse on the nature of light and colors, explain the theory 
of vision, the phenomena of the rainbow, and other objects of 

The blind are found generally to possess astonishing faculties 
of combination ; and after a little exercise of these faculties, 
they carry on in their minds the processes of arithmetical and 
mathematical calculation to an amazing extent, and with equal 
rapidity and accuracy. Professor Saunderson, however, in or- 
der to facilitate lengthy operations, and remove liability to er- 
ror, invented a ciphering board, by means of wliich he was 
enabled to perform the most complex operations. This may 

be considered as the first step towards a palpable method of 
instruction. This board was constructed by means of right 
lines running longitudinally and transversely, and intersecting 
each other. At each intersection the board was perforated so 
as to admit a small pin. The lines including four spaces were 
sufficient to express the nine digits. For this purpose, how- 
ever, two pins were necessary, one having a small and the 
other a large head. The four spaces empty, represented 
cipher; the small headed pin in the centre, one; the large 
headed pin in the centre, and the small headed pin at the in- 
tersection directly above it, two ; the small headed pin being 
moved to the next intersection on the right, three ; the small 
beaded pin removed to the intersection below on the right, op- 
posite, and in a line with the large headed pin, represented 
four ; and so on following the intersections round to the top. 
The professor used the same board to represent mathematical 
figures ; and considering the pins as points, he rendered the lines 
and angles palpable by stretcliing chords from one pin to ano- 
ther. This method of Saunderson's was much improved by 
M. Haiiy ; and the blind are now enabled to solve the most 
intricate mathematical problems with perfect correctness. 

The institution at Paris having been commenced by the in- 
dividual exertions of Haiiy, under the immediate patronage 
of the Societc Pkilanlhropique, soon became an object of the 
highest public interest, and, in a degree, attracted the attention 
of all Europe. In 1784 an cxibition of the pupils took place 
at Versailles, in the presence of the Royal Family. Speci- 
mens of their work were presented to the delight of the spec- 
tators. To convince incredulity itself, the children were re- 
quired to perform various mechanical operations on the stage, 
and to afford ocular demonstration of their capacity to receive 
instruction. They displayed their skill in reading, writing, 
arithmetic, geography, music, <fcc. In 1791 by a decree of 
Louis XVI. this institution was taken under the royal patron- 
age, and has ever since been supported at the expense of the 
state. The number of pupils was fixed at ninety, sixty of 
whom are boys and thirty sirls. The appropriation for their 


support amounts to sixty thousand francs, or 11250 dollars 
annually. Besides the pupils supported by the government, an 
unlimited number of pay pupils may be admitted. Under this 
liberal provision the institution has continued to the present 
moment ; and the long roll of eminent individuals who have 
emanated from this establishment, is the brightest commentary 
on the wisdom and humanity of its founders, and the ablest 
vindication of its immense practical utility. Subsequently, in 
different parts of Europe, similar institutions have been cre- 
ated, and are now in successful movement. 

In Germany these public charities exist to the number of 
five. They are differently conducted, both as to the course of 
studies and the principles of management, and with various 
degrees of success. That at Dresden is under the manage- 
ment of an excellent female superintendent; but little atten- 
tion, however, is paid to the intellectual education of the pu- 
pils. That at Berlin is ably conducted by Professor Zeune, 
who has adopted music as an essential branch in the system 
of instruction. This study should always be cultivated by the 
blind, because of their peculiar aptitude for it. The suscep- 
tibility of the ear, and the powers of the voice, seem augment- 
ed by the deprivation of sight, though it is physiologically cer- 
tain that this apparent improvement of the auditory and vocal 
organs is owing merely to increased exercise : a strong argu- 
ment in favour of a constant and vigorous application of our 
faculties. We have no sense or organ but is quickened and 
strengthened by a judicious exercise ; and this exercise goes 
on with accumulating energy. By the cultivation of music 
the blind are furnished with means, always at command, not 
only of innocent and beneficial recreation, but also of a plea- 
sant and respectable livelihood. Having acquired the science 
and the art of music, they can impart their knowledge and skill 
to others. They are in general remarkable for facility both in 
the acqusilion and communication of ideas. Music therefore 
should always be deemed an indispensable branch of instruc- 
tion in every institution for the blind. Haiiy was principally 
instrumental by his counsels in the establishment of the school 
at Berlin, and was the direct founder, at the request and under 



the auspices of the Russian Emperor, of that at St. Peters- 
burgh. While the latter, however, under imperial patronage, 
has fallen into decay, the former, sustained chiefly by the mu- 
nificence of the opulent and the hearty zeal of the middle 
classes, is flourishing with vigor. This school teaches not 
merely the first elements of education, but geography, history, 
languages, the mathematics, and various trades, so that the stu- 
dents are qualified in almost every way for usefulness to them- 
selves and society. Professor Zuene uses types made with 
pins for printing, and is industriously increasing his library. 

The blind schools at Vienna and Zurich are also in a flourish- 
ing state, and hold a high rank. That at London is extensive, 
though designed merely for the indigent. The superintendant 
doubts the utility of an intellectual education for his pupils, and 
of course directs their attention to the learning of trades. " It 
is indeed (says an eye witness) a delightful sight to see so many 
blind youths assembled in their workshops, all neatly clad, and 
with smiling faces, busily employed at their different tasks, 
learning their trades, and earning the means of livelihood by 
their own labor. Instead of the solitary helpless beings we so 
often see, we are here presented with the spectacle of an ac- 
tive, industrious and happy youth, who, finding constant occu- 
pation in the exercise of his physical powers, and being buoyed 
up by the hope of rendering himself independent of charity, 
has no time and no inclination for repining at his lot, or for 
drawing unpleasant comparisons between himself and those 
about him." 

The school at Edinburgh is perhaps the best in Europe, as 
it more nearly attains one of the grand objects of these insti- 
tutions, viz. enabling the pupils to support themselves in after 
life by their own exertions. This school owes its origin main- 
ly to the persevering and unremitting exertions of Mr. David 
Miller, an eminent teacher in that city, and who was himself a 
striking illustration of what may be attained by a person born 
blind, through the influence of early culture and mental energy. 
By his exertions a society for the relief of the indigent blind 
was formed in December 1792. This society, the ensuing 
September opened an asylum, and nine persons were imme- 

1 1 

diately received. Mr. Miller during many years was an active 
and efficient member of this society, and greatly contributed 
to the success of the asylum by maturing and effectuating 
plans for its improvement. It contained, in 1825, seventy-five 
males and twenty-five females, engaged in various manual and 
manufacturing operations ; the males in making mattresses and 
cushions of hair, wool and straw, baskets and mats of all kinds, 
hair gloves for rheumatisms, nets of all sorts, cords and twine, 
and linen and cotton cloths. The females are engaged in 
white seam of various kinds, in net work, in spinning and knit 
ting stockings, of which articles there is always on hand an as- 
sortment for sale at the asylum. The mats and mattresses, 
which are entirely the work of the blind, are described as a 
much better article, and as commanding a higher price than 
any others in the market. In basket making, also, the pupils 
display much ingenuity, and finish many very fine and difficult 
pieces of work, with a perfection truly astonishing. After 
leaving the asylum, the knowledge they have acquired there 
serves them as a stock in trade, on which they set up business 
for themselves, and earn a comfortable subsistence for their 
families. From its commencement this school has been sup- 
ported by voluntary contributions, together with the profits 
arising from the sales of manufactured articles, and now affords 
the means of support to more than one hundred and twenty 
persons, including several old female pensioners. Pupils are 
admitted at the age of eight years. They are taught reading 
and writing after a method invented by two of their own num- 
ber ; and so easy and successful is the plan that they can cor- 
respond with each other with almost as much facility as per- \ 
sons usually do by the common mode of writing. Grammar, 
history and geography are also taught by competent masters ; 
globes and maps have been constructed for their use, and they 
have regular classes for vocal and instrumental music. 

A Blind school has recently been established at Glasgow ; 
but the advantages that it affords for acquiring an intellectual 
education are as yet inferior to those possessed at Edinburgh. 
The Liverpool school is distinguished for the great attention 
paid to the musical department ; the best evidence of which 


may be found in the fact, that the receipts for concerts, in the 
course of a year, amount to about 3500 dollars. A school 
was formed in Dublin in 1809, but its sphere of usefulness has 
been limited by the want of funds. There are three or four 
other schools in Europe, but as they differ in no important 
particulars from those^ already noticed, further description of 
them is unnecessary. 

It was not until 1829, that the public attention, on this side 
the Atlantic, was first directed to the education of the Blind, 
by a few benevolent individuals at Boston. Among these was 
Richard D. Tucker, Esq. ; who, having a blind daughter, felt 
and exercised a peculiar and most beneficent zeal in the cause. 
The same year, an act of incorporation was obtained, under 
the title of the " New-England Asylum for the Blind ;" and 
funds were raised to the amount of about 12,000 dollars. 
'Although incorporated so long since, it did not go into actual 
operation until about the month of August of last year. It has 
since, however, progressed with rapid success. It is under the 
direction of Dr. Howe. An accomplished Frenchman, by the 
name of Trencheri, who has been blind from very early age, 
conducts the intellectual department, and an ingenious blind 
pupil from the Edinburgh school, the mechanical de- 
partment. This school, opened with only seven pupils, taken 
at random from various parts of the Stales, and varying in age 
from six to twenty years ; and though they have been under 
instruction only a few months, they can now read correctly 
books printed for their use, and have made considerable pro- 
gress in arithmetic, geography, music, and manual arts. 
" Some of the pupils can already fabricate moccasins and mats, 
which are as strong, durable, and handsome as those usually 
sold in the shops." 

The New-York Institution for the blind, though its incorpo- 
ration was subsequent to that of the New-England Asylum, 
went into earlier operation. It owes its origin more immedi- 
ately to Dr. Samuel Akerly and Samuel Wood — the former so 

* The Legislature of .Miissaehiwits, during its present session, lias taken this 
establishment under its particular patronage, and with an enlightened liberality 
granted an appropriation from the pobHB chest of $0,000. 


favourably known by his philanthropic exertions in behalf of 
the deaf mutes, and the latter a most worthy member of the 
society of friends. Through their influence a petition was 
prepared and presented to the Legislature in 18ol, signed by 
many of our most respectable citizens; — and in April, of the 
same year, a sqciety was incorporated by the title of the Netc- 
York Institution for the Blind. In the course of the succeed- 
ing summer, the attention of Dr. John D. Russ having been di- 
rected to the ophthalmia, then prevalent in the alms house of 
this city, he conceived a similar design, and was taking mea- 
sures to carry it into effect, when he was made acquainted with 
what had already been done ; and was invited by the President 
of the Institution to co-operate with the managers. He readi- 
ly accepted the invitation, and was elected a member of the 
Board. The managers held their first meeting in the ensuing 
December, at which time the President communicated to the 
Board the measures he had adopted, to promote the objects of 
the incorporation, and informed them that he had written to 
Mr. Gall, the Principal of the Edinburgh school, for the neces- 
sary information, books, and apparatus. No step had yet been 
taken for the purpose of raising funds. A committee was 
therefore appointed at this meeting, for the purpose of prepa- 
ring subscription books, and employing an agent to solicit con- 
tributions. The result of this movement, however,* was but 
little satisfactory, and at a subsequent meeting in February, the 
managers still found the Institution without means. It was 
then suggested, as the most likely method of exciting an inter- 
est in the objects of the association, that the managers should 
procure and cause to be instructed, two or three blind chil- 
dren, with a view to their exhibition as soon as they should 
have made the requisite proficiency. Unfortunately, at this 
moment, no person could be obtained who was acquainted 
with the method of instruction ; and the managers would have 
been obliged to relinquish their design of an immediate com- 
mencement, had they not been relieved from their embarrass- 
ment by the voluntary offer of Dr. Russ, who, though unac- 
quainted with the method in detail, had obtained some general 
ideas upon the subject, and was willing to devote himself to 


that object. The subsequent operations of the society, and 
the success of their experiment, are developed in the follow- 
ing report, submitted to the' Board on the 3 1st of Decem- 
ber, 1S32 : * 

The Committee appointed, agreeably to a resolution of the 
Board, dated February 18th, 1832, with powers for the pur- 
pose of making arrangements for providing for and instructing 
two or three blind children by way of experiment, to be taken 
from the Alms House, and also to make arrangements for a 
public exhibition, respectfully report — 

That, in compliance with said resolution, the Committee 
made an early application to the Commissioners of the Alms 
House, from whom, on the 15th of March last, they obtained 
three boys ; — that these boys were placed under the direction 
of Dr. Russ, who kindly volunteered his services, for the pur- 
pose of preparing them for a public exhibition ; — that on the 
19th of May last, three other children were added to their 
number, and a school opened at 47 Mercer-street ; and that on 
the 13th inst., they were publicly examined at the City Hotel ; 
— that the children have been instructed in all the ordinary 
branches of a common school education ; — that their progress 
has been highly gratifying, and the success of the experiment 
thus far complete ; — that, besides intellectual instruction, they 
have alsb been taught various mechanical employments, such 
as plaiting straw, covering bottles, making baskets, and wea- 
ving carpeting, specimens of all which (in the opinion of the 
committee highly commendatory,) are herewith presented ; 
that although the Institution, from its commencement, has been 
labouring under very serious embarrassments from the want of 
the necessary funds, and, during the summer, from the then pre- 
vailing epidemic, which deprived the Institution of one of its 
most interesting and promising pupils, and for a period almost 
entirely suspended its operations, it affords the committee the 
highest satisfaction to state, as their deliberate opinion, that the 
two eldest boys (about 12 years of age) will be enabled, from 

• An effort, we hclievc, is now mnkinp, to establish a similar charity in Phila- 
delphia, and an intelligent German, hy the name of I'riedlander, formerly a 
teacher in one of tho Eurnjienn Blind sclicul^, has Iteen engaged as Su[terin- 


the instruction they have already received, and are now receiv- 
ing, in a very short period wholly to support themselves by 
their own industiy ; — that the pupils thus far have exhibited 
more than ordinary attention to their pursuits ; and that the 
manual occupations introduced, so far from being considered 
by them as irksome tasks, are eagerly pursued as an agreeable 
pastime ; — that education has already begun to shed its anima- 
ting influence upon their countenances ; and that, in the speak- 
ing intelligence of their present appearance, it is difficult to re- 
cognize the dull and inanimate objects that entered the Institu- 
tion seven months since. 

Although the primary objects of this charity undoubtedly 
are, to meliorate the condition of the blind, without any distinct 
reference to rendering them adjuvant to their own support, it 
is nevertheless believed, that the best means for effecting this 
laudable purpose, is to introduce among them such occupations 
as shall afford the surest prospect of reward. Perhaps nothing 
is more chilling and degrading to the better feelings of our na- 
ture, than the consciousness of our own utter uselessness. It 
is this knowledge, forcing itself upon theJblind with the bitter 
reality of truth, that tends more than every deprivation to ren- 
der them unhappy. The committee therefore would recom- 
mend, that as the school increases in numbers, different me- 
chanical employments should be introduced, and varied to 
meet the wishes, tastes and capacities of the pupils. Attempts 
have been already made to extend the operations of the Insti- 
tution to the making of mats, moccasins, matresses, <fcc. but 
fears of monopoly have frustrated our plans, by preventing us 
from obtaining competent Instructors. To obviate the recur- 
rence of similar difficulties, we would respectfully suggest, that 
immediate measures be taken to procure a blind mechanic from 
Europe, who shall be competent to instruct in the various oc- 
cupations usually pursued in Institutions of this character. 
Such persons, the committee are advised, may be obtained ; 
and the plan seems to be recommended, by a view to both 
economy and ultimate success. The experience of more than 
forty years must have suggested many ingenious methods as 
substitutes for sight, in the performance of various mechanical 


operations ; and it will certainly be sound policy in this Institu- 
tion, to avail itself, at the earliest moment, of all such improve- 
ments. If a similar course is not adopted, the future opera- 
tions of the Institution must be a continued series of experi- 
ments, expensive in their nature and perhaps disastrous in their 

Your Committee further report, that the expenses of the In- 
stitution, from its commencement up to the present moment, 
amount to $300 75 ; that the receipts during the same period 
amount to $579, all of which, with the exception of a few 
dollars, accruing from the sale of manufactured articles, has 
been obtained from voluntary contribution and subscription : 
— leaving in the Treasury, on the first of January, 1833, a ba- 
lance of only $182 75 : whilst the expenditures absolutely ne- 
cessary for continuing the Institution in efficient operation with 
additional pupils, during the ensuing year, are estimated at 
about $4,000. The immediate demands of the Institution 
must unquestionably continue for a time to be supplied by 
voluntary contributions ; but a charity of this extended nature 
has a claim upon the fostering care of our Corporation and 
State Legislature, and the Congress of the United States. 
Whilst then, an appeal is made to the individual benevolence 
of our citizens, to supply its present necessities, petitions for 
aid of a more permanent character should be addressed to each 
of those bodies. 

The limited means at the disposal of the Board have pre- 
vented us from extending the benevolent intentions of this 
charity to new objects ; and, although frequent applications for 
admission are received, the number of our pupils has not been 

In conclusion, your committee take the liberty to recom- 
mend to the special attention of the Board, several improve- 
ments in the method of instruction which have been proposed 
by the superintendant, and which to the Committee appear to 
be of the highest importance. So far as they have had an op- 
portunity of informing themselves, much of the apparatus used 
in the European schools is either exceedingly complicated, or 
but imperfectly adapted to the purposes for whic h it is design- 


ed. These defects it is proposed to remedy by certain im- 
provements, simple in their character, and which may be easi- 
ly introduced as soon as the requisite appropriations shall be 
made for that purpose. These improvements do not present 
themselves in the dubious light of experiments ; the superin- 
tendent having already, on a limited scale, tested their practi- 
cal utility. The first and most important among them, is a 
new and improved plan for the construction of maps, the gene- 
ral principles of which are beautifully illustrated in the speci- 
men herewith presented. Even if these maps possessed no 
other superiority over those in common use, than that of being 
less expensive, that alone would entitle them to a very high 
consideration ; — but the cheapness of the article seems to be 
only a secondary recommendation. The maps heretofore 
constructed for the Blind, are useful only in conveying to the 
mind of the pupil a more accurate idea of the relative position 
and size of different countries, the courses of rivers, and the 
sites of a few towns and cities ; nor can even this general idea 
be obtained, but through the aid of an assistant. One of the 
most striking characteristics of the improvement is, its com- 
plete adaptation to the purposes of a self-instructor. The 
boundaries are all distinctly marked, the courses of rivers tra- 
ced, the sites of towns and cities indicated, and their names 
and population, in round numbers, given ; and the whole is 
rendered as intelligible to the sense of touch, as maps particu- 
larly addressed to the eye are to the sense of sight. These maps 
are stamped with an engraved or stereotype plate, in the same 
manner as books for the blind ; and one hundred of them may 
probably be afforded for a less price than five constructed in 
the ordinary way. A second improvement, which is now in 
successful operation, is a simple and more expeditious mode of 
ciphering ; and the Committee recommend that the superin- 
tendent be empowered to have types cast according to his 
own plan, for the purpose of more complete!}' carrying his de- 
signs into effect. At present the pupils are obliged to use 
wooden type, which are clumsy, and not so readily distinguish- 
ed as they would be if made of metal. 

A third improvement proposes a substitute for the complica- 



ted apparatus hitherto in use, for guiding the hand in writing. 
It is perfectly simple, and to appearance admirably adapted to 
the purpose intended. Besides these, another improvement 
has been recommended ; but, although in a state of forward- 
ness, is not yet sufficiently complete for the Committee to 
speak of it with entire confidence. It proposes certain changes 
in the ordinary method of printing books for the use of 
the blind, which will reduce them to less than half their 
present size. This plan appears ingenious ; and, if practicable, 
must be of the highest importance. 
Respectfully submitted, 

SAMUEL AKERLY, M. D. , President. 

C. BOLTOM, Treasurer. 

Description of the method pursued, and the apparatus used, in the 
Instruction of- the Blind. 

Helvetius, or some other philosopher, was so forcibly struck 
with the superiority which the hand affords to man, that he was 
inclined to define the human race as animals with two hands, 
believing that their pre-eminence over the brute creation is 
mainly attributable to this circumstance. Although we may 
not feel disposed to adopt the definition, yet in observing the 
perfection of touch in an educated blind person, we cannot but 
admire that matchless wisdom which has provided us with 
instruments so admirably adapted to supply our physical wants, 
and even to act with great certainty and success as substitutes 
either for sight or speech. 

With the blind particularly, the hands perform the most im- 
portant offices. Their eyes are as it were transferred to the 
tips of their fingers, and the principle on which their education 
must be conducted, is to adapt the apparatus used in their in- 
struction to this new kind of sight. For this purpose, a method 
of embossing has been introduced and substituted for the usual 


method of printing, so that the letters, standing out in relief, 
become perfectly intelligible to the touch. The characters 
proposed by M. Haiiy, and still in use in most European 
schools, are very similar to our common italics. In Edinburgh, 
an attempt has been made to present the blind with an alpha- 
bet which should be more tangible, and with this view, angular 
letters have been proposed and adopted. As this is the inven- 
ion of a blind man. it might naturally be supposed to possess 
decided advantages over the alphabet in more common use ; 
experiment however does not justify the inference. The only 
advantage it seems to afford, is a trifling power of condensa- 
tion, allowing more matter to be presented upon a page. As 
books for the blind are now printed, their unwieldy size and 
exorbitant price, will always be an impediment to their in- 
crease. Hitherto they have been confined to some elegant 
extracts ; a few choice selections from history and two or three 
of the gospels. This catalogue will not probably be ever ma- 
terially augmented unless a plan should be devised for printing 
in a more condensed form. This subject has particularly en- 
gaged the attention of the superintendent of tliis (N. Y.) Insti- 
tution, and though his plans are not yet completely matured, 
we have obtained permission to insert a general outline of 
the improvements proposed. Before entering into a parti- 
cular explanation, it may be proper to premise that the grand 
object of books is to present ideas to the mind, and that the 
best method of writing them is that in which these ideas shall 
be the most intelligibly expressed. Books are composed of 
words or symbolical expressions for words, and words among 
almost all civilized nations are made up of certain elements 
called letters. These characters, which in English are twenty- 
six, either singly or combined by their different disposition, 
are made to represent all our words. But letters, though in- 
tended to facilitate the acquisition of a written language, are 
not absolutely necessary to it. The Chinese, though a written 
language, is destitute of letters. The sounds of words are 
represented by arbitrary signs. In our own language, notwith- 
standing we have letters, a great many written words are in 
fact merely arbitrary signs for sounds. Of this character are. 

■ # 


though, bought, taught, rough, plough, pronounced iho, haut, 
taut, ruf, plou ; the first of which, though, although consisting 
of six lotters, has but two pure elementary sounds, only one 
of which is directly represented in the written word. The 
second, bought, has six letters likewise, and three elements, 
two only of which are represented.* Nor is this remark 
limited to the above words or those of a similar class. This 
anomaly is astonishingly frequent, and may be repeatedly found 
in almost every sentence in the English language. We pity 
the Chinese youth who, before he can aspire to the dignity of 
mandarin, must be master of twenty thousand characters; but 
his task is not more difficult than that which every person who 
acquires a good knowledge of our own language has to per- 
form. He possesses, besides, this advantage over us, that his 
knowledge is certain ; his characters are invariable. Our let- 
ters are always varying, and their sounds uncertain. To place 
this subject in a fair light, let us suppose a person merely to 
have seen the word pharmacy written, and that he wishes to 
pronounce it. The letters/)/!, may be pronounced separately, 
or together ; together they have the sound of t>, as in Stephen, 
or of f, as in sphere ; separated from the h, p has two 
sounds, as in play and. cupboard — thus we have pharmacy, 
varmacy, parmacy, barmacy, four varieties — next a has eight 
sounds, as in name, hall, hat, what, said, recital, tillage, fa- 
ther, (juay, and each of the four sounds takes eight new 
varieties ; the first, pliaer-macy, pluaor-macy, phar-macy, phor- 
mucy, pher-macy, phur-macy, phir-macy, pheer-macy— the se- 
cond, vaer-macy, vawr macy, &c. eight varieties ; and, in like 
manner, the third and fourth, making thirty two different 
ways of pronouncing the three first letters ; next, r has two 
sounds, as in ripe, far, and each of the aforesaid words ad- 
mits of two variations, which make sixty-four ; then m has two 
sounds, as in man, arcompt, and each of the aforesaid sixty- 
four words admits of two variations more, making 128; a has 
eight sounds as before stated, and each of the aforesaid 128 

* The wnnl quay tins four letters anil two elements, neillier of which is repre- 
sented in ilie wriltui won! — as usually pronounced ke. 


words admits of eight new variations, making 1024 ; c has 
five sounds, as in suffice, cider, ocean, cat, such, and each of the 
aforesaid 1024 words admits of five variations more, which 
make 5120; finally, y has three sounds, as in yearn, tyrant, 
liberty, and each of the 5120 words admits of three more vari- 
ations, making 15,360. When therefore each of the letters 
which compose this word and all their several sounds have 
been learned, and the pupil attempts to apply his knowledge to 
the pronunciation of the word, he is liable to pronounce it 
wrong in more than 15,000 diflerent ways. Another difficulty 
to be encountered in learning the English language, is the fre- 
quent use of diflerent letters to express the same sound. Every 
vowel in the alphabet has the sound of short i and short u, and 
we have besides various combinations of letters to express the 
same sound. Let us suppose a person has heard the word 
fatal pronounced, and wishes to write it — there are five difler- 
ent ways of writing the first sound, as in field, sapphire, half, 
seraph, laugh, — the nex't sound, long a, may be written seven 
diflerent ways, as in day, trey, neigh, great, traitor, staple, feint, 
making thirty-five varieties — the fourth letter, a, has the sound 
of short u, which may be written twenty -one diflerent ways, as in 
Messicurs,nut,clieerj 'ul, myrrh, sturgeon,word,heard,prodigious, 
vital, Britain, third, gorgeous, Isaac, blood, enough, cupboard, 
does, region, answer, shepherd, guerdon. Multiply the aforesaid 
35 by 21, and we have 735. The next sound may be written 
in three ways, as in all, able, let. Multiply 735 by 3, and we 
have 2105. Thus we have 2105 ways of representing the 
five simple sounds in the word fatal, all of which are es- 
tablished by authorized usage. How much then in fact is our 
language superior to the Chinese ? If Cadmus did the world 
any service by the introduction of letters into Greece, it was 
by substituting for hieroglyphics expressions for elementarv 
sounds; but the wisdom of modern days has set the philo- 
sophy of Cadmus at defiance ; and most written languages, 
instead of following up and perfecting the philosophical prin- 
ciples of the great inventor of letters, are, like our own, a mere 
jumble of arbitrary signs and elementary sounds, most admi- 
rably adapted to embarrass the progress of the learner. To 


bring back our written Jangunge to its philosophical purity, 
would be one of the most glorious achievements of any age. 
Habit and prejudice, however, combine to perpetuate its ano- 
malies, and our children, like ourselves, must be content to 
grope through the mazes of orthography with no other guide 
than the ignes falui of error. But the blind are placed in a 
different relation to society ; books must be printed expressly 
for their use. They have no prejudices of education to over- 
come. They have no libraries to reform ; and it matters not 
whether others can read their books or not, so long as they can 
perfectly understand them. 

It would seem then, that if there are any advantages attend- 
ing a different mode of writing our language, we should be jus- 
tified in introducing it in their case. This brings us to the plan 
proposed by the superintendant, which, though particularly 
designed to condense the language, is based on philosophical 
principles. It must be obvious to every one, that if we can 
exactly represent the sound of any word in the English lan- 
guage, by a Jess number of characters than is at present used, 
we shall condense the language. This may be done to a lim- 
ited extent, with our present alphabet ; thus we can exactly re- 
present the sounds in the word beaux by the letters b-o, and 
in belle by b-e-l ; but we have more simple or elementary 
sounds than we have characters to express them, so that were 
wc disposed to throw away our system of arbitrary signs, we 
could not completely effect the object, without introducing at 
least fourteen new characters. In the characters proposed for 
the use of the blind, this is attempted, and their alphabet is 
made to consist of fortv characters, each of which is intended 
to represent an elementary sound, and which is never varied, 
whatever may be its position — so that every word must bo 
spelt with exactly those characters or letters which represent 
the sounds made in pronouncing it ; and every word must be 
pronounced according to the sounds of the characters by which 
it is represented. Thus, a person having made himself master 
of all the characters, can, after a few hours' practice, spell cor- 
rectly, almost any word in our language, whether he has ever 
seen it written or not; or, seeing it properly written, can pro- 



nounce it. Thus far this method seems applicable to printing 
for those with sight as well as ior the blind : and, were there 
no objections to its adoption, but the increased number of 
characters, might be advantageously introduced as an improve- 
ment of our present system. We have, however, too many 
books to re-print, too many prejudices to overcome, and habits 
too inveterate to encounter, for the reveries of the wildest en- 
thusiasm ever to anticipate such a change. Further to con- 
dense the written language, characters are introduced to re- 
present a few compound sounds and the most common pre- 
fixes and terminations, making the whole number of characters 
sixty-four, each of which, when standing alone, is intended to 
represent some one of the most common words in the English 
language. By this method, the size of books will be reduced 
more than one third, and although a few arbitrary signs are 
employed for the sake of abbreviation, yet they invariably re- 
present the same sound, and bear but a trifling proportion to 
those at present used in writing our language. For the pur- 
pose of enabling persons with sight to read the blind charac- 
ters, as few new letters as possible have been introduced ; and 
to represent the different sounds (for no new sounds are intro- 
duced,) of the same letter, the shape has been only slightly va- 
ried, and in some instances the distinction is even made by the 
use of the capital, italic, and roman lower case, forms of the 
same letter. There is perhaps no advantage in this adherence 
to the old letters, and in many instances their places might be 
supplied by snugger characters, which would still more con- 
dense the language. A method of representing the different 
letters by means of dots, and upright, horizontal, slanting, and 
curved lines, is proposed ; and, should it succeed on trial, it 
will further condense the language nearly one third. These 
curved lines and dots are to be placed above and below a 
continuous line, and each of them is intended to represent an 
elementary sound. Thus a dot above the line might repre- 
sent A, a dot below the line B, &.c. 

But besides diminishing the size of the books, the new al- 
phabet will materially facilitate the operation of reading. If 
the same sounds are expressed by half the number of charac- 

terss, the time necessarily spent in running the fingers over them, 
will be proportionably less ; and as the sense of touch is not 
so intuitive as that of sight, this will be a most important ad- 
vantage. Many objections will be raised to the proposed im- 
provement, especially in the imperfect state in which it is here 
presented ; nevertheless, the experiment which has already 
been made in this institution has been highly satisfactory, and 
it is believed that it will be found to answer all the important 
purposes for which it was designed. 

Writing. — That the blind may be enabled to record their own 
thoughts, to communicate with distant friends, and if engaged 
in business, to keep their own accounts, writing has been in- 
troduced as another branch of their instruction. The acqui- 
sition of so simple and mechanical an operation may, on a has- 
ty examination, appear to present but few difficulties: this, 
however, is far from the fact, and it is only by a long course 
of patient and persevering efforts that the blind are enabled to 
acquire this art. The shape, size, and disposition of the letters, 
their connection and proper distances, are matters so entirely 
regulated by the eye, that, when this guide is removed, under 
ordinary circumstances the writing will be crooked, the lines 
crossed, the letters crowded together or overlaid, their size un- 
equal, and their forms imperfect. Many ingenious contri- 
vances for obviating these difficulties have been proposed, and 
some of them found to answer a good purpose. One of the 
earliest inventions, and that which, though clumsy, seems best 
adapted to beginners, consists of a frame resembling a slate 
frame, about the usual size of a sheet of writing paper, con- 
nected by means of hinges with a thin board of similar dimen- 
sions ; the board is perforated with two holes on each side for 
the purpose of receiving the same number of pegs or pins in- 
serted in the corresponding part of the frame. On the outer 
face on each side of the frame, small holes or grooves are 
bored or cut for the purpose of receiving a notched rule which 
passes across it. The apparatus being thus constructed, a sheet 
of paper is placed between the frame and the board, so that 
its edges will correspond with the edges of the board, and be 
secured in its position by the pins in the frame. Having adjus- 

ted the rule, !with a loaded pen or pencil, the pupil commences 
the operation. The upper edge of the rule serves to direct his 
hand in a straight line, and the notches to indicate the pro- 
per distances for the letters and spaces between words. The 
first line finished, the rule is removed to the next hole below, 
and so on. A simple contrivance in more common use an- 
swers equally well at a more advanced period of the in- 
struction. Thus, with a sheet of pasteboard, with raised lines 
placed under the paper, it will be easily conceived that one 
might be enabled to write straight. In this institution a me- 
thod of stamping the paper has been introduced and adopted, 
which entirely supersedes the necessity of any apparatus. The 
paper thus prepared, presents on one side continuous elevated 
lines, and on the other corresponding depressions. This me- 
thod requires no particular adjustment of the paper, no effort 
to retain it in its place ; and the little finger resting on, and 
following one of the under lines, together with the nib of the 
pen or pencil, is a double guide to the line. 

Various attempts have been made to enable the blind to 
read their own writing. For this purpose experiments have 
been made with thick and gummy inks, which, though thin 
enough to shed freely, would speedily dry and leave a firm and 
elevated character ; or which, while in a liquid state, might 
be made tangible by sprinkling them with sand. But these expe- 
riments have, for the most part, been unsuccessful. The best 
method for effecting this object, is to prick the letters through 
paper ; after which, they may be easily read by feeling on the 
opposite side. To expedite the operation, the letters of the 
alphabet are formed by small types, made with pin points, 
which being pressed through, leave the characters in relief on 
the opposite side. 

Arithmetic, Geometry, &c. — There is no branch of instruc- 
tion which seems so peculiarly adapted to the capacities of the 
blind, as mathematics. The exclusion of visible objects is 
peculiarly favorable to abstraction and analysis ; and the fre- 
quent occasion which the blind have to exercise the memory, 
by strengthening its powers, enables them to exert their facul- 
ties of combination to a surprising extent. A few days since, 



a visitor to this Institution proposed to a little boy only seven 
years of age, the following question, viz. — To eighty, add the 
half of my age, twice my age and one seventh of my age, and 
the sum will be 265 — How old am I ? — which the little mathe- 
matician answered promptly and correctly. Now we may 
venture to assert that very few boys of his age, whatever may 
have been their advantages, would, even with the assistance of 
pencil and slate, be found competent to the solution of so intri- 
cate a question. 

All the common operations in arithmetic, and even in the 
higher branches of mathematics are performed mentally — the 
more complex, as has already been observed, by means of a 
ciphering board, the construction of which is as follows : — a 
thin board, from 18 to 20 inches in length, and from 12 to 14 
inches in breadth, is divided by means of a number of thin and 
narrow strips of wood inserted transversely and longitudinally 
into a great number of small and equal compartments ;* these 
compartments are designed to admit and secure the type ne- 
cessary to the operation — on each of the type, one or more of 
the common arabic figures is carved in relief. These type are 
arranged in small boxes on each side of the slate, so as always 
to be in readiness for use. The apparatus being thus prepared, 
questions are solved in the same manner as on a common slate, 
only substituting type for figures. 

A new method of writing numbers has been introduced in 
this institution, which is thought considerably to facilitate the 
operation. Two types and four characters by a change of po- 
sition are made to express the nine digits, cipher and the signs 
of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, a period, and 

A more accurate idea of this plan may be acquired by the 
following illustration, viz: — 
















" &'ce ihe plate 



' do. 













The characters from one to eight, represented on one piece 
of wood or metal, are arranged on one side of the board, and 
those above eight, on the opposite side. This favours dispatch, 
as the pupil, instead of feeling through a number of boxes for 
the type required, can, from knowing its exact position, seize 
upon it at once. Geometry is taught by means of diagrams, 
raised and lettered in the same manner with the reading books. 

Geography may be taught orally, but without the aid of a 
map no very definite ideas of the relations, bearings and posi- 
tions of cities, provinces, countries, rivers, seas and oceans can 
be acquired. Attempts were therefore made at a very early 
period of the instruction of the blind, to construct maps for 
their use ; these attempts were to a certain extent successful. 
Until the opening of the New- York Institution, no very near 
approximation had been made to the maps in use for persons 
endowed with sight.* Immediately, however, after the open- 
ing of this Institution, the superintend ant introduced a plan 
which he had previously invented, of stamping maps on paper, 
so that now maps for the blind, though not quite as compact, 
are as intelligible and expressive as those in common use. 
These maps have been so accurately described in the Annual 
Report of the Board of Managers, that we need only remark that 
the names of towns, rivers, &c. to prevent confusion and em- 
barrassment, are represented on the face of the map by figures 
referring to the margin, opposite which figures will be found 
the names required, and at the end of the name, the popula- 
tion of the town or length of the river expressed in round 
numbers. This stenographic method of representing num- 
bers, is not precisely arbitrary, as will more fully appear from 
the following illustration, viz. 

The simple figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, &c. are made to represent 
hundreds ; 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, &c. slurred on the top thus, T, g) &c. 

* For a description of these mnps, pee page 17. 


represent thousands ; 1 , 2, 3, 4,5, 6, &c. slurred underneath thus, 
£> represent tens of thousands ; 1, 3, 3, 1, 5, 6. &c, dotted 
above thus, i, '% represent hundreds of thousands; % ^ or 
any other of the characters with a dot on the right of them at the 
bottom, are increased one quarter in value ; with a dot at the 
top one half, and witli a dot at the lop and bottom three quar- 
ters, thus 2. represents 2^50, g| represents 2750, & thirty-five 
thousand, & thirty-seven thousand five hundred, &c. A simi- 
lar plan for the construction of maps, has more recently been 
introduced into the Boston school ; but, though involving the 
same general principles, it is not a mere copy of the plan de- 
scribed. The marginal reference has not been adopted, and 
instead of representing rivers and lakes in relief, their relative 
position in relation to the land is attempted to be more cor- 
rectly illustrated by means of sunken lines. This may be truer 
to nature ; whether an improvement or not, we are not com- 
petent to determine. Perhaps as much is lost in distinctness, 
as is gained by the nearer resemblance* to nature. 

Music. — Paganini, whose matchless performances on the 
violin, have of late excited so much interest in Europe, de- 
clared, after hearing the musical performances of the pupils at 
the Blind school in Paris, that he never before had an idea of 
correct accord in time. Indeed, the Blind never sing out of 
time, and the greater precision of their ear more than com- 
pensates for the disadvantage of not being able to read notes 
and perform at the same time. The usual method of instruct- 
ing them in music is, first, to teach them the notes by means 
of raised characters. These characters are similar to those 
commonly used for writing music, a»d though more particular- 
ly addressed to the sense of touch, are equally intelligible to 
the sight. 

* To those who may unfortunately have blind friends or children, to whom they 
may he desirous of communicating some general idea of Geography, and have not 
the means of procuring stamped mace, we would suggest the following method — 
Trace from a common map ihe outlines of the country, rivers, &c. reversed, upon 
a sheet of stout pasteboard, and (hen prick the lines through so that they may be 
felt upon the opposite side. The -ites of (owns, and names of rivers, may he repre- 
sented by figures having a marginal reference. This makes a very convenient 
and useful map, and is casjlv prepared. 



Mechanical Employments. — Let any one whose sight has 
been dimmed by declining years, unassisted by art, attempt to 
thread a needle, and he will form some just estimate of the diffi- 
culties which the blind must encounter in undertaking mechan- 
ical occupa^ons. " I cannot see," is constantly upon the lips of 
those with sight, as an excuse for the non-performance or ill 
performance of their handicraft. Yet the blind, unaided even 
by the twilight of sight, by proper education are capaci- 
tated, not only to thread a needle with facility, but to perform 
almost every mechanical operation. Numerous instances 
might be adduced of their surprising attainments in the me- 
chanic arts; but these examples, though they bear honorable 
testimony to the capacities of the blind, are only useful as af- 
fording us a decided indication of their capabilities for improve- 
ment. For though blind men are occasionally found, who, by 
consummate address and ingenuity,can construct musical instru- 
ments, repair w-atches, or make machinery ; yet it is not to such 
marvelous achievements that a judicious education of the blind 
should be directed. Do what we can, the loss of sight still de- 
prives us of an important auxiliary in the performance of me- 
chanical labors ; and the ingenuity of man, however benevo- 
lently directed, will probably never devise a substitute, which, 
in the more difficult operations, will enable the blind to com- 
pete with those who see. It is, therefore, only to the simpler 
and coarser kinds of manufactures that the attention of the 
blind should be directed. To those only, in which but a 
moderate exercise of the organ of sight is ever necessary: 
Our object being not to make blind prodigies, but intelligent 
and useful members of society — to render individuals who are 
physically disabled, competent to their own support. With 
this view, many mechanical branches have been introduced 
into schools for the blind, which have been afterwards prose- 
cuted with greater or less advantage. Among the most suc- 
cessful of these may be enumerated chair-seating, mat-making, 
basket-making, rope-making, net-making, weaving bottles, spin- 
ning, sewing, plaiting straw, weaving, and the fabrication of 
moccasins and mattresses. Other occupations are occasion- 
ally taught, such as shoe-making, joinery, book-binding. <fec 


all of which are eitlier of more difficult exercise, or less profit- 
able to the imperfect beings, whose advantage is designed, 
than those previously mentioned. The manufacture of mats, 
mattresses, and the weaving of carpeting, are probably the most 
lucrative employments for the blind, and the experience of this 
and other institutions, we think fully warrant us in stating, that 
with ordinary capacity and adroitness, a blind boy of sixteen 
years of age, may, by the exercise of either of these trades, 
realize from six to eight shillings a day for his labor. This 
being the fact, how imperative a duty it becomes for every 
true philanthropist to step forward to their succor. By this 
means, society may be relieved from a burden, and a large 
amount of inert capital be rendered active and productive. 
But aside from all considerations of a pecuniary nature, they 
will accomplish a higher and nobler object — they will effect a 
more benevolent purpose. They will pour the balm of conso- 
lation into the wounds of the unfortunate — they will shed living 
light upon physical and intellectual darkness. How forlorn, 
how hopeless is the present condition of the blind throughout 
the United States. Their uncultivated minds are a dreary 
waste — their uneducated hands are a useless appendage, and 
every ennobling sentiment in them is dejected and . broken 
down by a constant and degrading sense of dependence. But 
we trust a brighter day is breaking upon them ; and that the 
efforts now making in their behalf, will go on, increasing in 
strength and usefulness, until the blind shall find a solace for 
their misfortune, in the warm and tender sympathies of a be- 
nevolent community. 

Method of communication between the blind and deaf mutes. — 
It may perhaps appear surprising to many, that any means 
should have been devised for communication between the 
mutes and the blind. With the one, conversation, to be intel- 
ligible, must be addressed to the eye ; with the other, it seems 
equally necessary, that it should be addressed to the ear. How 
then^can the mute speak to the blind, or the blind hear the 
mute ? The only remaining sense by which we can imagine it 
even possible, that ideas could be conveyed from the one to 
the other, is that of feeling ; and even this sense might naturally 


be supposed inadequate to the purpose required. Neverthe- 
less, it is feeling that on this occasion becomes ears, as on or- 
dinary occasions it is eyes to the blind. The blind man ad- 
dresses himself through tfat language of signs, to the eye of the 
mute, and the mute, through the sense of touch, to the feeling 
of the blind. This method was first discovered by the blind 
and mutes themselves. In 1791, the institution for the blind 
at Paris, was located, by an order of Louis 16th, in the same 
building with that of the deaf mutes. By this measure, daily 
thrown in contact with each other, ingenuity was not tardy in 
devising the means of communication. And after a short pe- 
riod, the deaf and the blind found but little difficulty in con- 
versing together. For this purpose, however, it was first ne- 
cessary for the blind to learn the alphabet and conventional 
signs of the mutes ; and then, with the assistance of these, they 
wrote in the air, or made signs which were understood by the' 
mute, and the mute responded by writing on the back or in the 
hand of the blind. 

" While on this subject, we may notice a question which is 
often asked, viz : Whether blindness or deafness be the greater 
evil ? are the blind or the dumb most unhappy ? These are 
questions asked every day. If we should give our own opin- 
ion, it would be, that blindness is the lesser evil, and that the 
blind, as a class, are much happier than the mutes. If, how- 
ever, one should consult the mutes, they will express their pre- 
ference for their own lot, and give him to understand, by eager 
signs, with what horror they should look upon an exchange of 
their seeing for the speaking faculty. On the other hand, if 
you consult the blind, they will answer, readily and decidedly, 
that their lot is infinitely more enviable than that of the deaf 
and dumb. What an admirable regulation of Providence, by 
which the affliction of each class is the means of comparative 
happiness to the other !" 

" It has been well said, that for a poor man, it would be pre- 
ferable to lose his hearing and speech — but that to a rich one, 
the loss of the eyes would be infinitely preferable ; and this, 
because the dumb can earn a livelihood by the labor of their 
hands : and the blind, with money, can supply most of their 


wants, and with a guide and a reader can have much en- 

Character and capacity of the blind, remarkable facts, tyr. 
— The uneducated blind are generally dull and inactive. 
Misfortune, in depriving them of sight, as in some degree it 
has deprived them of the ability, seems also to have deprived 
them of the desire to move. Every step for them is fraught 
with danger, and their only safety seems to lie in inactivity. 
Whilst, therefore, the busy world without is gay with life and 
motion ; whilst an ever-changing variety amuses the eye and 
gives activity to the mind of him who sees — they sit in listless 
vacancy at home, a prey to never-ceasing regret, or borne 
down by poverty and disgrace, occupy a seat in the public 
ways, and with outstretched arms, cry unceasingly, " pity the 
poor blind man." But let education exert her magic influence, 
and how changed the picture ! They arc at once transformed 
into happy, intelligent beings. In the labor of their hands they 
find a ready support, and the exercise of a retentive memory 
affords them a never-failing source of profitable amusement. 
Their vacant hours are thus passed in agreeable communion 
with their own thoughts. The power of attention is increased 
by the abstraction of visible objects. Habits of reflection are 
acquired ; and the awakened mind, ever on the wing, is ac- 
tively engaged in analyzing or combining ideas, or continually 
busied in grasping at new truths. Cheerful, contented, they 
envy us not our eyes. 

The blind have been charged with atheism and infidelity ; 
and though we would not lightly lay this charge at their door, 
yet if there be any foundation for the accusation, may it not be 
supposed a natural result of their ignorance ? Who has not 
had his admiration excited, his heart warmed, and his faith 
strengthened by the contemplation of the works of nature. 
To us, each tree, each plant, each flower proclaims a God. 
Earth, sea, and air, the glorious sun, the countless stars, the va- 
ried year, are full of a divinity. But to the blind, the book' of 
nature is forever sealed. They see not in each budding plant, 

* .New-England Magazine for March 


each joyous flower, the great mechanist, who hath so wonder- 
fully made them. Earth may unlock her richest mines, the sea 
give up its hidden treasures, and all the countless orbs of 
heaven roll on in majesty sublime, unseen, unknown to them. 

" Their rayless darkness hath no moon. 
Their midnight knows no dawn." 

How imperative, then, becomes our duty, not only as phi- 
lanthropists but as christians, to afford them the means of edu- 
cation — to let 

" Cclestiul light 
Shine intrards; und the mind, through all her powers. 
Irradiate ; there plant eyes, all mists from thence 
Purge and disperse, that they may see and tell 
Of things invisihlr. to mortal sight." Milton, 

But we have an fadditional inducement, if. inducements 
are' wanting, to afford to the blind the means of educa- 
tion. Their capacity for receiving instruction is fully equal to 
that of their more fortunate fellows. Indeed, in the acquisi- 
tion of music, mathematics, and perhaps the languages, they 
far surpass us ; and their astonishing success in these branches 
has been alike the wonder and admiration of every age. ' Thus 
they may become competent instructors, and pay back to so- 
ciety in usefulness, the debt of gratitude which their infirmity 
may have contracted. 

To persons unaccustomed to observe the blind, there are 
some facts in their history so remarkable and so interesting, 
that we cannot forbear making them a subject of special 
notice. It is no uncommon occurrence to find persons de- 
prived of sight, speaking with as much certainty and exactness 
of the size and age of individuals whom they have casually 
met, as persons enjoying the organs of vision unimpaired 
could do. They judge correctly of the size of an apart- 
ment by striking on the floor. They recognise a person 
whom they have once heard speak : they judge of the prox- 
imity of fire by the degree and extent of its heat ; the 




fulness of vessels by the sound of the liquid poured into 
them ; their approach to objects, by the action of the air on 
their faces ; they judge of the duration of time ; recognise 
places where they have once been ; their hands serve them as 
balances ; and with a delicacy of feeling, perfectly incompre- 
hensible to us, discover when a cloud is passing over the disk 
of the sun.* In walking about, " when they come to an open- 
ing in the street, they know by the sound of their footsteps, 
whether it is a court closed up at the end, or whether it is a 
wide or narrow street. They can tell, by the feeling of the 
atmosphere, whether a house is immediately upon the street, 
or whether it has a space and a railing between it and the side- 
walk. In fact, if one follows them he will be surprised, that, 
instead of groping along, as it would be supposed they must 
do ; and feeling, with their hands or their cane, the houses and 
the corners, that they walk boldly forward, seeming to see with 
their ears, and having landmarks in the air.f if we may speak 
so paradoxically." But what appears to us still more reftnark- 
able, they seem to read, as it were, by intuition, the very hearts 
of men. By what delicacy of discernment do these attentive 
observers discover those slight shades of character, which 
are inappreciable to us? "Beware how you converse with a 
blind man, if you have any thing on your mind which you would 
wish to conceal, or jf you attempt to counterfeit a character 
that is not your own : for depend upon it, he will perceive it 
quicker than a person with two eyes." 

" Most persons are more or less Jiypocritical in their inter- 
course with the world, and have the habit of dressing and be- 
decking their countenances just as they do their persons ; and 
they think if they only smile and look complacently on those to 
whom they speak, they have drawn a curtain over the only 
opening by which their minds can be perceived : but the blind 

♦ SnunJerson licing engaged in making some astronomical observations, nt 
Cambridge, alter the telescope was adjusted, anil every thing in readiness to 
commence the observation, requested his assistants to wait a moment until a cloud 
which obscured the sun had pnssed over. 

f A young lady of this city, with whom we arc acquainted, whenever she is at a 
loss to rind her way in any place in which she haB previously been, directs herself 
by the sound of her voice. Whenever, therefore, she cannot discover her course 
she immediately utters aery, and is thus directed by the sound. 


man is not imposed on by appearances : lie is not dazzled by a 
smile or a bright glance ; nor can mere words weigh with him, 
unless they bear the impress of sincerity in their tones." 

" There is not, we will venture to say, more variety in the 
shades of the human countenance, than in the intonations of 
the human voice ; and as the countenance varies with every 
varying emotion of the mind, so does the tone of the voice 
change, as the chords of feeling arc stretched or relaxed. Most 
people pay no attention to this fact ; they can keep their coun- 
tenances under control, but think not of the voice ; and it is 
upon this thread that the blind man seizes, to guide him 
through the labyrinths of the human heart ; hence, we say, 
many blind persons will pronounce with more shrewdness 
upon the character of an individual with whom they have con- 
versed ten minutes, than most seeing persons with the aid of 
eyes and ears both."* 

We have, undoubtedly, been led into grave errors, by con- 
sidering the blind as mere objects of pity. But he that in 
passing them, has dropped the tribute of a sigh at their calami- 
ties, or showered gold into their tattered hats, though he may 
have relieved his own bosom, has not done all that cither jus- 
tice, humanity, or society demands of him. The cry of Barti- 
meus, while sitting at the gates of Jericho, " thou son of David, 
have mercy on me," has been the appeal of every blind man 
since that time. But where are they, who like the Saviour of 
men, bid them go to the pool of Siloam and wash ? Where 
are they even who have provided fish gall'to anoint their eyes, 
that the scales may be removed ? Is there not among us one 
pitying angel? one dutiful Tobias? Alas! this touching ap- 
peal has only been met by cold and chilling neglect. The 
charms of nature, the fascinations of sense, have spared not a 
moment to reflection. You who roll in wealth — the pride of 
whose eye is the decorations of dress — who delight in splendid 
equipages, or rear gorgeous domes to gratify the sight — you, 
whose delight is in the flowery mead, or on the grassy lawn, 
by streams that sparkle as they flow, at noon or even-tide to 

■ New-England Magazine. 


gaze on nature — you who prefer the wild sequestered 
dell, the cloud-capt mountain, or the yawning gulf, — you 
who love at midnight hour, in heavenly contemplation wrapt> 
to sit and watch the planets as they rise and fall — you 
that cull the flowers " imagination bodies forth," or dwell with 
rapture on Isaiah's hallow T ed page — recollect the source from 
whence these pleasures spring ; and whilst your hearts ascend 
in. grateful adoration before the altar of the living God, let your 
incense fall like genial suns upon those who 

" From the cheerful ways of men 
Cutoff; and for the book of knowledge fair, 
Presented with a universal blank 
Of Nature's works, expunged and razed' 1 Milton. 

dwell in " ever during dark." 


We are indebted to Mrs. Sigourney for the following beautiful 
lines, composed expressly for the children of the New-York Insti- 
tution for the Blind : 


Ye see the glorious Sun 

The varied landscape light, 
The moon, with all her starry train, 

Adorn the arch of night ; 
Bright tree, and plant, and flower, 

That deck your joyous way, 
And face of kindred and of friend. 

More fair, more dear than they. 

For us, there is no Sun, 

No green and* flowery lawn ; 
Our rayless darkness hath no moon, 

Our midnight knows no dawn. 
The parent's pitying eye, 

To all our soriows true. 
The brother's brow, the sister's smile 

Must never meet our view. 

We have a lamp within 

That knowledge fain would light, 
And pure religion's hand would touch 

With beams forever bright ; 
Say, shall it rise to share 

Such radiance full and free, 
And will ye keep a Saviour's charge 

And cause the Blind to see ? 


The following brief notices of some of the most celebrated 
blind, have been collected from various sources. Some of 
them are translations from a letter by M. Rodenbach, " Sur les 
Aveugle.s" and others extracted from the New-England Ma- 
gazine for March, and a letter by Mr. Friedlander, of Germany, 
addressed to Roberts Vaux, and others, Philadelphia. We re- 
gret not having it in our power to give some satisfactory ac- 
count of our own Shaw, whose musical attainments have se- 
cured him a large fortune, and acquired for him a brilliant 
reputation. Though comparatively few may have listened to 
his masterly performances, yet his melodious notes have 
been the admiration of thousands. 

"Huldeuicii Schoenbehger, born at Weider, in 1601 ; be- 
came blind in his third year. He was very much neglected in his 
youth, his parents and friends, believing that his misfortune had 
completely incapacitated him for future usefulness, and that an 
attempt to instruct him, would be to mispend both time and money. 
Fatigued, however, by his inquisitiveness, and overcome by his 
importunities, they finally sent him to school ; the rather to relieve 
themselves from a burden, than from any expectation of his im- 
provement. But, with his ears ever open, and aided by a tena- 
cious memory, he drank up knowledge in torrents, and speedily 
surpassed his more fortunate school mates in the extent of his 
acquirements. This astonishing and unexpected progress pro- 
cured for him a place in the Academy of Altdorf, where the oppor- 
tunities for instruction were greater. He was made a master of 
arts at Liepsic, and afterwards went to Holstein, where he taught 
with approbation, and in a short time became a public lecturer. 
He understood, not only his native language, but also the French, 


Latin, Hebrew, Synac, as well as the Arabic, in which he gave 
instruction. He wrote the oriental languages by means of letters 
formed of wire, in which he likewise instructed. In mathematics 
and natural and moral philosophy, his knowledge was extensive. 
He played upon different instruments, and particularly excelled on 
the organ, which he manufactured himself. At Koenisbergh he 
held disputations about colors and the rainbow, and explained the 
origin of colors. He played well at nine pins, and shot at a mark 
with astonishing accuracy when its place was pointed out to him 
by knocking." 

" Peter Hvreng, of Caen, in Normandy, became blind in his 
ninth year. This ingenious mechanist could repair all kinds of 
watches. He discovered their defects by the sense of feeling." 

" Geipels, a blind man in the paper mill at Plauen, is the 
inventor of a water press, by which two men, by the help of water 
power, in one minute and a half, execute as much as six or eight 
men, previously to this invention, could accomplish in five minutes. 
The paper prepared after his prescription, by the water press, 
becomes more firm and receives the sizing better." 

" Joseph Kleinhars, born at Nauders, in Tyrol, became blind 
in his fourth year. He manufactured crucifixes and holy figures 
of wood, which were accurately proportioned, and which ex- 
pressed affection, delight, and other affections of the mind. He 
made statues from six or eight inches in height* to the common 
size of the human body, which in expression and execution would 
do honor to many clear sighted artists. He also carved, in great 
perfection, heads or busts of living persons, which he copied, 
either from casts or from nature, solely by the aid of feeling." 

* Some years since, there was a blind man in Boston, who supported himself by 
the manufacture of toys and figures, representing mm, women, animals, &c. many 
of these articles were well executed 


'•G ambassius DB V altekk jj.— This interesting individual and ac- 
complished statuary, lost his sight at the age of twenty. Apparently 
doomed by his misfortune to a life of inactivity and uselessness, he 
remained for ten years in obscurity ; ignorant even of the elements 
of sculpture. His mind, however, which at first appeared paraylzed 
by the magnitude of his calamity, seemed gradually to recover its 
activity, and in tossing about for some employment to occupy his 
vacant hours, his attention was attracted to a statue of Cosmo de 
Medicis, to which he had free access. .After having touched it in 
every direction, and making himself perfectly familiar with the 
different parts, he conceived the design of copying it in clay, in 
w hich he so exactly succeeded, as to excite the wonder and admi- 
ration of every beholder. Encouraged by success, he renewed 
his efforts till his talent for statuary developed itself to such a sur- 
prising degree, that Prince Ferdinand, grand duke of Tuscany, 
sent him to Rome to model a statue of Pope Urban the 8th ; in the 
execution of which he was peculiarly fortunate. He afterwards 
made many other statues, in which he was equally successful. 

" During the last century, there flourished at the University of 
Cambridge, in England, a distinguished philosopher, named Nich- 
olas Sausdekson, who lost his sight at a very early age, from the 
small pox. This man became one of the professors in the univer- 
sity, and lectured most admirably upon mathematics, and every 
subject connected therewith. He was a man of most extensive 
erudition, and a great philosopher; but what most astonished those 
who knew him, was the perfection to which he brought his remain- 
ing senses ; his hearing was so acute that he could detect the mi- 
nutest intonations of the voice, and judge very shrctvdly of the 
character of any one with whom he conversed ten minutes ; — on 
coming into his rcom, he could tell by the sound of his cane on 
the floor, or by the echo of his voice, whether any of the large 
furniture of his room had been removed, or changed from one side 
of the room to the other. The perfection of his touch was often 
tested in the examination of ancient coins ; for he could run overs, 
cabinet of Roman medals with his fingers, and distinguish the true 
from the false ones, when the difference was so slight as to puzzle 
connoisseurs with both eyes open to find it out." 


Saunderson enjoyed the friendship of Sir Isaac Newton. The 
royal society of London elected him a member of that body, and 
after his death the university of Cambridge published his mathe- 
matical works. He married, and had a daughter who could see. 

" Another distinguished man of letters, who has flourished within 
a few years, was the Rev. Dr. Blacklock, of Scotland, who was 
born blind ; and yet became a most chaste and ripe scholar ; an 
able divinC7%nd a beautiful poet. He published a volume of 
poems which bear all the marks of genius, and in which, by an 
extraordinary power of description of the visible creation, he 
proves to us, that had Homer and Milton been born blind, instead 
of losing their sight in after life, they might still have reared those 
splendid monuments of mental power, the immortal Iliad and 
Paradise Lost." 

" Dr. Henry Moyes, professor of chemistry and philosophy, 
in Manchester, England, was another striking exemplification of 
the great powers of the blind ; for without the least sight, he be- 
came a most able and interesting lecturer, and gained the love 
and esteem of all who knew him." Dr. Moyes was in this country 
about the year 1793 ; and at that period attracted much interest 
and attention, by proposing to give a course of lectures on natural 
philosophy, in this city ; but the appearance of the yellow fever 
compelled him to relinquish his plan. A syllabus of his lectures 
has recently been found among the papers of the late Dr. 

" John Metcalf, concerning whom, papers may be found in the 
transactions of the philosophical society of Manchester, is another 
striking illustration of the capacity and capability of the blind. 
Metcalf being blind from infancy, was very much neglected, and 
roamed all over the country during his boyhood. His first occupa- 
tion was that of a teamster and guide. During the winter, when 
the earth was covered with snow, or during dark nights, he used 



to act as guide from one place to another, to those people who had 
eyes, but could not see. 

" This blind man became so perfectly acquainted with every hill 
and valley; every tree and rock, even about the Peak of Derby, 
shire — He knew the bearings and distances of places so well, 
that he formed plans of the country, he proposed and effected 
many advantageous changes in the directions of the roads, and 
actually laid out the route from Wilnslow to Congleton himself." 

A writer of veracity remarks of him—" His talents for taking 
plans of the country are so extraordinary, that he finds constant 
occupation. Most of the routes on the Peake of Derbyshire have 
been changed according to the directions and indications given by 
him. Having met him one day alone, as he usually is — and feel- 
ing out the lay of the land — I questioned him about bis new road, 
and was utterly astonished at the precision and minuteness with 
which he described the different kinds of soil over which it passed. 
Having observed to him that there was one place where it was 
marshy, he said it was the only one about which he was anxious ; 
fearing lest his positive orders for the deposite of a large quantity 
of gravel there, would not be fully obeyed." 

" This is an extraordinary case, but it is well attested. Indeed, 
we have ourselves seen so many extraordinary instances of the 
great powers of the blind, that we have no doubt of those of 
Metcalf. We have known young men who roamed all over the 
country alone, by the help of a cane and a pocket compass ; who 
rode fearlessly about on horseback ; and who could mingle with 
ease in society, and take their part in many of its amusements, 
such as the waltz, chess, cards, &c. 

"Indeed, one may every day meet blind persons who have 
been properly neglected, if we may so express ourselves — for 
neglect is better for a blind child, than the excessive attention 
which they generally receive, and which prevents the develop- 
ment of their faculties ; — we say you may meet such persons 
almost every where, who go about the streets" and from town to 

•A gentleman informed us a few days since, that about eight years ago he met 
John Ross, a blind man, passing the aqueduct at Rochester, on the side unpro- 
tected by a railing, with his cane shouldered, and marching almost as fearlessly as 
he could have done. He asked him if he was not afraid to walk thus without his 
cane, in so dangerous a place ? Slipping one foot over the side, he answered in his 
queer style, "why, it is a pokcrish looking place, isn't ill" 


town alone. We know of an instance in our immediate neigh- 
borhood of a young man, entirely blind, who accomplishes 
every year, long journeys on foot and alone. If it be asked 
how he avoids runriJfrg against objects? we can only say, it 
is by bringing his sense of hearing to a degree of perfection 
which makes it differ from ours : if he approaches a tree of 
any size, he perceives that the air sends back a different feel- 
ing to his face, and in the open air he can easily avoid an ob- 
ject as large as a horse or a man." — N. E. Mag. 

" M. Rocques, a native of Montauban, in France, is a distin- 
guished scholar and poet. Before entering the 3fusee des Aveu- 
gles at Paris, he had learnt to read by means of palpable charac- 
ters, which he had himself invented for this purpose. He adopted 
a similar plan for learning music. He has translated the odes of 
Metastasius into French verse, and the public journals are fre- 
quently enriched by literary articles of his composition, which are 
particularly characterized by a warm and brilliant imagination. 
He manifests great sagacity in recognizing the characters and de- 
fects of the individuals with whom he is associated. If he wishes 
a domestic to read to him, he has recourse to an advertisement, 
which not unfrequently brings a crowd of worthless applicants, 
who imagine that they can take advantage of his infirmity, to 
promote their own interests. He always demands of them their 
certificates ; but aware how frequently bad servants obtain letters 
of recommendation, feigning attention to their papers, he ques- 
tions them with so much shrewdness and address, that he is rarely 
deceived in the selection he makes, and in which he is entirely 
governed by their answers." 

" Mile. P. Pethoniile Moens, born at Cubart, in Holland, 
in 1765, lost her sight at three years of age. Her father, a 
protestant minister at Aardenbourg, early discovering in her a 
talent for poetry and belles lettres, encouraged her inclination for 
these studies. She has written many pieces of considerable merit, 
among which are Esther, Ungues Grotius, Jean d'Oldenbarncwld 

and fat freres de Witt. But her productions of most mont, are the 
Printemps, a poem in three cantos, published in 1788 ; L'Histoire 
de VHumanitt, and Reflexions sur le 81e siecle. 

" Her poems are particularly distinguished by bold and brilliant 
touches peculiarly characteristic of the great poetical talents of 
their author. On different occasions she has obtained academic 
honors. She received the first prize at the Hague for her poem, 
entitled the Vrai Chretien ; she was crowned at Gand for her poem 
upon the battle of Waterloo. Mile. Moens has also published le 
Patriolc Victorieux and many other occasional pieces. This 
blind Sapho has not only courted the muses, but has equally dis- 
tinguished herself by her prose productions; and the romance en- 
titled Caroline d'Eldenberg, or la Fidelite" conjugate eprouvi, is 
an honorable monument of her talents. Notwithstanding her ad- 
vanced age, she has not yet hung her harp upon the willow, and 
her melodious notes still fall in sweetest harmony upon the ear. 
Lately, she has published at Amsterdam son Bouquet a' la 
Juncsse, which does her great honor." 

" Weissemboukg, of Manheim, became blind at the ago of • 
seven. He learned to read and write with great facility. He was 
a remarkable geographer, and constructed maps which were in 
high estimation at the time. Seas and rivers were represented by 
glass ingeniously cut, and different countries distinguished by 
sand of different granulations. He played chess after a method 
of his own invention." 

" Mile. Paeadis, of Vienna, lost her sight at two years of age, 
by apoplexy. She came to Paris in 1784, where she immediately 
became celebrated for her masterly performances on the harmo- 
nica. This Virtuoso, who was an able composer, invented a 
method for writing out her own compositions, by pricking the nojes 
with pins upon thick paper or pasteboard. This process was 
afterwards much simplified by M. Kempillen, the inventor of the 
automaton chess-player ; who made a press with which she printed 
music notes in relief. At her suggestion, maps were embroidered, 


by the means of which she was enabled to acquire a good know- 
ledge of geography. She was the intimate friend of Hauy, and 
this philanthropist was undoubtedly indebted to her for many 
valuable suggestions in relation to his plans for instructing the 

" Peter PoifTANUS,or Dupont, called the blind man of Bruges, 
flourished at the commencement of the sixteenth century. He 
lost his sight in his third year ; but this misfortune, though it per- 
haps impeded, could not prevent his making splendid attainments in 
science and literature. Such is the luxuriance of genius, that 
nothing seems capable to repress its growth — it shoots withouf cul- 
ture — it buds and blossoms amid misfortunes and poverty, and bids 
defiance to the impediments of circumstance. He taught belles 
lettres at Paris with unexampled success, and published many 
works which augmented his imputation and .celebrity. Among 
other productions, one on rhetoric, -and a treatise on the art of 
making poetry, in which he attacked Despautere, are the most 
esteemed. Pontanus was a profound philosopher, enlightened 
and religious ; an enemy to duplicity, and the friend of truth. 
Speaking of himself in one of his works, he says that he has always 
warred against voluptuousness, and recommended piety and love 
to God." 

" M. Hubert, of Geneva, a learned naturalist, is author of one 
of the best works extant upon the history of bees and ants. One 
is astonished in reading his book, to find a blind man giving so 
exact and minute a description of these insects. He was assisted 
in his labors by his domestic, who, however, only indicated the 
particular colors, M. Hubert distinguishing their form and size by 
the delicacy of his touch, with the same facility that he recognized 
the insect by the noise it made in flying." 

"Herman Correntier lived about the middle of the fifteenth 


century. He was professor of rhetoric at Groniugue, and for 
many years taught belles lettres in his native city. He died about 
the year 1520, and left a great number of works written in Latin, 
among which may be mentioned an historical and poetical diction- 
ary, published at Paris, 1541 ; and which, in succeeding editions, 
has been successively augmented by Charles Etienne and Fre- 
derick Morrel." 

" Claude Cormehs, born at Embrun, was professor of mathe- 
matics at Paris, and for some time associate editor of the Journal 
des Savans. There are few subjects with which he did not oc- 
cupy himself. He wrote on medicine, mathematics, physics, and 
engaged deeply in controversy. He was, in philosophical attain- 
ment and erudition, far in advance of his age, as may be seen 
from his discourse upon comets, published in the Mercury for Jan- 
uary, 1681. His three discourses upon the art of prolonging life, 
a kind of satire, directed against the editors of the Gazette of 
Holland, are highly esteemed. Corniers died in Paris at the 
Quinze Vignts." 

" M. Pfeffel, of Colmar, lost his sight whilst very young, by a 
violent attack of ophthalmia. He was author of some very agree- 
able poetry, and composed a number of fables, some of which 
have been translated into French by M. Degerando. He was 
private counsellor to the Margrave of Baden, and established a 
military school at Colmar, in which children from the first families 
were educated. The Prince of Schwartzemberg, and the Prince 
of Eisemberg, who were pupils of this institution, esteemed it as an 
honor to have had this distinguished individual as their pre- 

Avisse, a distinguished poet, commenced his career at an early 
age, as captain's secretary, on board a ship. By different acci- 
dents he lost one eye in Africa, and the other in America ; after 


which he became a member of the institution for the blind at Paris, 
where he soon became professor of rhetoric. He wrote the Ruse 
des Aveughs, and several other pieces of merit. He died at the 
age of 31, regretted by his friends, and especially by his wife, who 
was also blind. This lady was subsequently married to M. Heilman, 
who was likewise blind ; and by her second husband she had a 
daughter, whose lively and sparkling eyes appear abundantly ca- 
pable to see for all three. Her mother, who instructed her in 
music, in which she has made great proficiency, possesses sur- 
prising address in mechanical occupations. She threads her nee- 
dle with as much facility and dispatch as a person with sight, even 
without having recourse to suction, as is commonly the case. 
Madame Heilman is a good cook and housewife, remarkably neat 
and particular. * 

"It may appear strange that the blind should marry among them- 
selves, but there are many examples .of similar marriages, most of 
which have proved fortunate." 



1. This Society, in conformity with the act of incorporation, 
shall he entitled the New- York Institution for the Blind. 


1 . The payment of twenty-five dollars at one time, or of two 
dollars annually, shall constitute a member of this Society. 

2. All members shall be eligible as Managers, and shall have 
the privilege of voting at the annual election. 

3. If any person shall be chosen a manager, who is not alrea- 
dy- a member, his election shall be void, unless immediately there- 
after, he becomes an annual or life subscriber. 


1. There shall be an annual meeting of the Society, on the 
last Monday in each year, for the election of Managers. 

2. The managers, when elected, shall hold a meeting on the 
same day, or as soon thereafter as may be convenient, for the 
election of officers for the ensuing year. 

3. At the annual election, the officers shall be chosen from 
the managers previously elected. 

4. All elections shall be by ballot. 

5. At the annual election of officers, there shall be chosen a 
President, one Vice-President, a Treasurer, a Corresponding and 
a Recording Secretary. 

6. The officers and managers shall hold their offices one year, 
or until others are elected in their places. 

7. If from any cause, there should be no election at the regu- 
lar period, the managers and officers shall hold over until a new 


8. The managers may supply vacancies in their Board, at any 
time, and in any manner they may determine upon, between the 
periods of the annual election. 


1. The managers shall hold a monthly meeting on the last 
Monday of every month, and special meetings may be called by 
the President, or at the request of any three of the managers. 

2. At all meetings of the Board, Jive shall constitute a quorum 
for the transaction of business. 

3. At the first meeting of the Board of managers after the an- 
nual election, there shall be appointed a finance committee, a com- 
mittee of instruction, and such other committees as may appear 
necessary to the Board. 


1. Each standing committee shall consist of three members, 
and shall have the privilege of choosing its own chairman. 

2. The finance committee shall devise and recommend ways 
and means to create a permanent fund, and to preserve and 
increase the income of the Society. They shall examine all 
accounts, and if approved by them, the signature of their chairman 
shall constitute an order on the Treasury for their payment.. 
They shall also examine and certify to the correctness of the 
Treasurer's accounts. 

3. The committee of instruction shall visit the Institution, at 
least once a month ; shall examine into the general state of tire 
school, and the manner in which it is conducted, and from time to 
time report thereon to the Board. They shall inquire into the 
methods pursued in the instruction of the Blind in other places, 
and in conjunction with the Superintendent, recommend such 
improvements and alterations as may appear necessary. 


1. The President, or in his absence, the Vice President, shall 
preside at all meetings of the Board, and in case of the absence 
of both, a chairman pro. tern, shall be appointed. 


1. The Treasurer shall have charge of all the funds of the 
Society. 7 • 


2. 11c shall present a yearly statement of his accounts with 
the Institution, at the annual meeting in December, and at such 
other times as lie may be required so to do, by the Board of 

3. He shall pay out of the funds of the Society, all bills against 
the Institution, when ordered by the Board, or when approved by 
the finance committee, and signed by their chairman. 


1 . The corresponding Secretary shall perform such duty by 
corresponding with other institutions or persons, as may from time 
to time be required of him. 

2. The Recording Secretary shall attend the meetings of the 
Board and keep a record of their proceedings, which he shall 
carefully enter in the book of minutes. In case of the Secre- 
tary's absence from any meeting of the Board, a Secretary pro 
tern, shall be appointed. 

3. He shall give notice to the managers of all meetings of the 
Board, and shall advise new members of their election. 

4. He shall inform the members of the society by a notice, 
to be published in three of the city papers, at least two days pre- 
vious to the annual meeting, of the time and place of holding said 


1. The Superintendant shall reside in the house with the pu- 
pils, and under the supervision of the managers have the general 
direction and control of all persons concerned in the institution. 

2. He shall take such part in the instruction of the pupils as 
may from time to time be assigned him, and direct the course of 
studies and mechanical employments. 

3. He shall have full power at all times to make such rules 
and regulations for the government of the Institution as in his 
opinion may be requisite ; but the rules may be modified, altered, 
or abolished at any regular meeting of the Board. 

4. He shall pay over to the Treasurer all monies received by 
him, on account of the Institution. 

5. He shall, under such limitations as the Board may adopt, 
have full power to receive and act upon all applications for admis- 
sion to the Institution. 



I. The Teachers shall perform such duty as may he assigned 
them by the Board of Managers or the Superiiitendant. 


1. The Matron shall have charge of the domestic department 
of the Institution, and shall perform such duties as shall from time 
to time be assigned to her. 


1. It shall be the duty of the managers at all times to receive 
gratuitously as many indigent blind pupils us the funds of the In- 
stitution will allow ; but farther to extend the benefits of the Insti- 
tution, pay-pupils shall be received at a reasonable compensation. 

2. The pupils shall be boarded in the Institution, under the 
direction of the Superintendant and Matron. 

3. Such children as have parents or friends residing in the 
city, may under particular circumstances be received as day 

4. No pupil shall be received under the age of eight, nor over 
that of twenty-five years. 

5. All applications for admission must be addressed to the 

0. No pupil shall be received for a shorter period than one 
year, unless earlier removed by the Superintendant or Managers. 

7. The parents or guardian of each pay-pupil on entering the 
Institution, shall pay the established price of board and tuition for 
the first term in advance, and in like manner at the commence- 
ment of every succeeding term. 

8. Every pay-pupil on entering the Institution, shall be pro- 
vided by his or her parents or guardian, with a suitable bed or 
mattress, pillow and bedstead, and at least two pair of good sjieets, 
three blankets, a counterpane and four napkins. 

9. No pupil can be removed except at the end of the term. 


1. The by-laws of this Institution may be altered or amended 
as circumstances may require, at any regular meeting of the Board 
of Managers. 


In noticing the New-England Asylum for the blind, we ought in jus- 
tice to have mentioned Dr. John D. Fisher, of Boston, as among the first 
and foremost in suggesting and promoting the establishment of that 
charity. This gentleman, having visited similar institutions in Europe, 
on his return to this country, took a most active and leading part in es- 
tablishing the institution at Boston. 

We are gratified to learn that that interesting institution is in the full 
tide of successful experiment. Our neighbors of Boston and its vicinity, 
already so distinguished for their philanthropy, seem determined 
to add new gems to their crown of merit. 

Thomas H. Perkins, Esq. formerly an associate in business, and brother 
tlier to the late James Perkins, who so munificently endowed the Boston 
Atheneum,has lately, with a liberalily worthy the name of Perkins, pre- 
sented his own mansion, a convenient and durable building, most desirably 
located, together with the adjoining lands, to the institution for the blind, 
upon condition that fifty thousand dollars should be collected before the 
ensuing June in aid of the same object ; and it affords us high satisfaction 
to state, that no doubt remains but this offer will bemet by the public with 
the same spirit of liberality in which it was conceived. We observe that 
J. P. Cushing, Esq. has already given five thousand dollars, and it is inti- 
mated that his example will be speedily followed by similar donations 
from Peter C. Brooks, Esq. John Parker, Esq. and others. We cannot 
but hope that the same enlightened liberality which warms the bosoms 
of the Bostonians, will prompt the wealthy citizens of this city to come 
forward in support of so meritorious a charity. 

Asylum for Ike Industrious Blind of Scotland. 

" At the hour appointed, one o'clock, the examination commenced with 
the boys, whose education is still under the superintendence of their 
very clever teacher, David Macbeath, joint-inventor of the siring al- 
phabet, by means of which the blind can correspond with each other. 
One youth gave a clear solution of a problem of Euclid, proving that if 
one lino of any triangle be produced, the exterior angle is greater than 
either of the interior and opposite angles. There was an obvious im- 
provement in the working of questions in the higher branches*!' arith- 


metic, and a very surprising proficiency displaycJ in English grammar, 
geography, the use of the globes, astronomy and history. 

One youth repeated, with good emphasis, a general description of 
Switzerland, and was followed by another, who recited the history of 
William Tell, the founder of Swiss liberty and independence. A poem, 
the production of one of the youths, William Meikle, about twenty years 
of age, expressive of the gratitude of the blind to the patrons and di- 
rectors of the institution, was recited by one of their number, and was 
much applauded. One of the original inmates, (John M'Lareri, of whom 
we spoke in one of our earliest notices,) was brought forward, who has 
mi: entire Bible fixed on his memory, and who answered a number of 
questions, variously put by Principal Baird, with perfect accuracy, not 
mechanically, but with sound knowledge. 

" The examination of the females embraced pretty much the same 
course of education as the boys, and was satisfactory in the highest de- 
gree, particularly the knowledge they displayed in bible history. There 
was one little blind wonder, whose examination excited intense interest ; 
her name is Jean Biggs, only five years of age. She repeated the 
names of the kings of Scotland, in chronological order, the books of the 
New Testament, spelled, and gave a considerable number of the intro- 
ductory rules of grammar, and solved numerous questions on the terres- 
trial globe with astonishing readiness, all having been acquired during 
the short time she has been a pupil in the institution, and in a great de- 
gree taught by Sarah Home, one of her companions. But the know- 
ledge displayed by one of the senior girls in the sublime science of astro- 
nomy, Margaret Baxter, of whom we have had occasion to make fre- 
quent honorable mention, was the most striking feature in the examina- 
tion. Of the splendid orrery belonging to the institution, she is perfect 
mistress, as also of the celestial maps, — but, accustomed as we have 
been to these annual examinations, and acquainted as we have been 
with blind persons who had all the advantages of expensive education, 
we were startled at the question, ,l What star is at this moment over 
Calcutta?" To solve this question on the plans of the heavens she be- 
hoved to know what was then the hour of the day at Calcutta. To 
shorten the operation, this she was told by one little girl announcing the 
longitude and latitude of the place, and another working the question as 
to the time, both on the terrestrial globe: the girl Baxter then, in a 
wonderfully short period, pointed to and named the stars. The same 
questions and operations were repeated as to other places, and with 
equal success. These are truly triumphs of knowledge. 

" This interesting examination was closed by a concert of instru- 
mental and vocal music, in which the performers exerted themselves in 
a style that reflected great credit on their teachers, and obtained for 
themselves much applause." 


Explanation of tlic Plates. 


Figure 1, represents a writing frame complete, as described on the 
24th page. 

a, the rule for guiding the hand. 

b, b, b, 6, the grooves for the insertion of the rule. 

The jagger appearance of the upper edge of the rule represents the 
notches used to direct beginners in regard to the size and position of the 
letters and the spaces between them. 

Figure 2, the writing frame open. 

d, the board upon which the paper is placed. 

a, the frame into which the rule is inserted. 

6, 6, 6, b, four pegs in the frame a ; used to secure the paper. 

c, c, c, c, perforations in the board d, into which, when the frame is 
closed, the pegs 6, 6, b, b, must enter. 


Map constructed agreeably to the plan explained on pages 17 and 27. 


Represents three different methods proposed for printing books for the 
blind — the first used in France — the second in Scotland,* and the third 
adapted to the method proposed, (see page 23,) as a substitute, for the 
present mode of printing. Ae, in representing the elementary 
sounds of our language, this character will be more intelligible to 
the general reader than dots, perpendicular, slanting, horizontal, 
curved, and other lines of a similar description, it is here used in pre- 
ference to them, though we are by no means sure that the latter method, 
while it affords great advantages for condensing the size of the book, 
will not at the same time be more palpable to the blind, and consequently 
more easily read. The experiments which have been made in this In- 
stitution with this character seem to confirm such an opinion. 


Figure 1, diagram of the 47th proposition, 1st book of Euclid. 

Figure 2, method of printing music for the blind. 

N. B. The New-York Institution for the Blind, is established at 62 
Spring-street, and will be open every Thursday afternoon for the recep- 
tion of visitors. Application for admission at any other time must be 
made at the Institution, to Dr. J. D. Russ, Superintendent. 

* We believe that wo were in error in statin; that the trianjrnlnr eharaeter was an 
invention of two hlind individual*. It is the string alphabet, ami not the triangular 
character which they claim to have invented. 





Moses Allen $100 00 

Samuel Akerly.M. D 50 00 

Edward F. Faile 50 00 

Heuian Avcrill -25 00 

Curtis Bolton 25 00 

Walter Bowne 25 00 

Silas Brown 25 00 

Wiu. B. Crosby 25 00 

Thos. Cock, M. D 25 00 

Hannah Eddy 25 00 

Samuel Hicks 25 00 

Thos. W. Jenkins 25 00 

Gideon Lee 25 00 

Mrs. Gideon Lee 25 00 

Cornelius W. Lawrence $35 00 

Samuel F. Mott 25 00 

James Milnor 25 00 

Catharine Murray 25 00 

A. L. Mills 2»00 

Henry Reinsen 25 00 

Nichs. Win Stuyvesant 25 00 

Peter G. Stuyvesant 25 00 

George T. Trimble 25 00 

Samuel Wood 25 00 

Dr. Isaac Wood 25 00 

S. S. Howland 25 00 

775 00 


J. Brigham $1 00 

Wm. Barton ' 2 00 

James R. Bennett 2 00 

Elizabeth Bowne 2 00 

Richard Bartlctt 2 00 

George W. Belts 2 00 

Mrs. Ann Bostwick 2 00 

Samuel Bowne 2 00 

Mrs. Walter Cicker 2 00 

Daniel Coolcdge 2 00 

B. S. Collins 2 00 

Robert C. Cornell 2 00 

AV. B. Coit 2 00 

Wm. Chamberlain 2 00 

J. Coppingcr 2 00 

John D. Clute 2 00 

EL Cotheal 2 0» 

MahlonDay 2 00 

Thos. C. Doremus, for 5 years. ...5 00 

Miss Doremus 2 00 

Wm. A. Duer 2 00 

Theodore Dwight, jr 2 00 

Mrs. Nicholas Fish 2 00 

Samuel Grilling 2 00 

John Henderson 2 00 

Francis Hall 2 00 

Mrs. Henderson 2 00 

C. Hunt 2 00 

Mr. Hart 2 00 

N. D. Hewer $1 00 

Mrs. R. Kelly 2 00 

Miss M. J. Kelly 2 00 

Mr. Charles King 2 00 

Mrs.C. King 2 00 

Anthony Kerr 2 00 

Smith Lawrence 2 00 

J. E. Milledoler, M. D 2 00 

Wm. Mandeville, tor 5 years 5 00 

J. Moore 2 00 

Thos. R. Mercein 2 00 

Mrs. Catharine Mitchell 2 00 

Joseph W. Moulion 2 00 

James Nelson 2 00 

John Nitchic 3 00 

Francis O'Brien 3 00 

Aaron Piggott, (blind) 2 00 

Alfred C. Post, M. D 2 00 

Andrew Ross 2 00 

Wm. A. Seely 2 00 

Cornelius R. Suydam 2 00 

F. Salmon.. 2 00 

George Spring 3 00 

Peter Stuyvesant 2 00 

John R. Stuyvesant 2 00 

Wm. L. Stone 2 00 

Thomas It. Smith 2 00 

John B. Seaman 2 00 

Joseph Trulock 3 (to 


Grant Thorburn and Son $1 00 Mrs. Win. J. Waldron $2 00 

Ueoige Underbill '2 00 Mrs. Wcstray 2 00 

Thomas Valentine 2 00 John W. Walker i. 5 00 

W. E. Whiting 2 00 

Thomas De Witt 2 00 142 00 

"Wm. J. Waldron 2 00 


Wm. Hutchings 85 00 

Henry Hinsdale 00 

S. B. Collins 5 00 

Cash 2 00 

Cash 2 00 

Jane Livesay ..5 00 

Euiuce Mitchell 5 00 

Eliza Lewis 5 00 

Samuel Han nay 5 00 

Cash 3, cash 5 8 00 

Cash 3, cash 2, cash 2 7 00 

James D. Beers 5 00 

Walter M. Franklin 2 00 

C. Dubois and Mrs. Dubois 5 00 

Henry K. Bogart 5 00 

James Donaldson 5 00 

J. R. Marshall 5 00 

James M. Smith 5 00 

Thomas Tobias 5 00 

Oliver Hull 5 00 

James H. Ray 2 00 

W. B. Windle 2 00 

Isaac L. Kip 82 00 

Henry Stevens 9 00 

James Oakley 2 00 

Cash 1 00 

Henry Suydam 2 00 

Joseph Ripley 2 00 

John Knox 2 00 

E. Backhouse 2 00 

Wm. Fairman 2 00 

B. F. Lee & Co 25 00 

Isaac S. Hone 10 00 

NoahJarvis 5 00 

A. W. Ludlow I 00 

G. & A. Robins & Co 10 00 

F. T. Peet 10 00 

Contributions at masonic hall.... 62 50 
Contributions at Troy 39 80 

2-21 30 

Amount of life subscriptions — 775 00 
Amount of annual do 142 00 

$1138 30 








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